Woori Bank on Way to Setting up Holding Co. in January
Bank records earnings surprise in H1 and ready to take over Kyobo Securities to expand and diversify biz territory to get ready for holding company system
President Sohn Tae-seung of Woori Bank. (Photo: Woori Bank)
Woori Bank is on track to accomplish the seven management tasks laid out by Chairman Sohn Tae-seung when he took over the helm of the bank last December.
The tasks included securing a foundation for stable profit, expansion of the global network, digitalization, starting the work on the move to set up a financial holding company, reform of the personnel system and smooth communication and harmony, among others.
The bank will continue to build next-generation systems by strengthening digital banking facilities and maintaining the digital financial group assigned to the forefront of all the marketing units of its operation.
Woori wants to provide the best financial services to customers. To back up the move, the bank will hire a chief digital office (CDO) from outside to take care of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The bank is preparing to create a financial holding company system from January next year to form the Woori Financial Group.
“Woori Bank was the first Korean bank to be established in 1899, with royal funds under the approval of Emperor Gojong, for the purpose of "facilitating the flow of funds and contributing to the development of the national economy," said President Sohn Tae-seung.
Woori Bank continued its growth through the late Chosun period, the Industrial Revolution, the Asian financial crisis, and the recent global financial crisis, and thereby, prospered together with the Korean people and nation to serve as a solid backbone of the Korean financial industry.
“As we have throughout our history, Woori Bank will continue to do our utmost to provide more convenient and safer financial services to customers, and cement our position as a lifelong financial partner for all our retail and corporate customers,” Sohn said.
Woori Bank held a ceremony marking its 119th anniversary at the headquarters in Hoehyun-dong, downtown Seoul, on Jan. 4, with the participation of 14 former presidents of the bank, outside directors and 600 executives and employees led by President Sohn Tae-seung.
President Sohn said in his address, “We should be able to cope with various changes in the financial environment, including digitalization and globalization, with ceaseless hard work and reform, so that the bank would be in a position to lead the banking industry’s future. All of us working for the bank should cooperate together to capture the top position as an integrated financial group in the country for the group.”
Woori Bank, which became South Korea’s third-largest lender after it was fully privatized last year, will aggressively seek merger and acquisition targets to transform the bank into a major financial group by 2020, declared President Sohn Tae-seung.
Woori Bank said its first-half net profit came to 1.305,9 trillion won, up 18.9 percent YoY, and the best half-year in 11 years, with second quarter net profit rising a whopping 55.32 percent at 716.2 billion won, the bank said on July 24.
The quarterly net profit is the best since 2014 when the holding company system was discontinued, the bank said.
The bank also attributed the surprising figures to the successful risk management, and the return of the loan loss provision in the first half that also contributed to the outstanding results. The bank said the NPL in the Q1 (0.52 percent) was downed to 0.28 percent in Q2 with the delinquency rate also down to 0.33 percent in Q2 from 0.37 percent in Q1.
Woori Bank, the country's top-tier private lender, is in discussions with Kyobo Life Insurance to take over controlling stakes in Kyobo Securities, a deal estimated to value around $300 million (320 billion won), sources at two local private equity funds (PEFs) said, Aug. 22.
Kyobo Life Insurance is the largest shareholder of Kyobo Securities, owning 51.6 percent in the domestic brokerage firm.